Thursday, May 4, 2017

Governor Vetoes Township Road Funding

After the 65th Legislative Session adjourned, Governor Burgum vetoed SB2119 and 22 sections of eight other bills.  One of the section (or line item) vetoes was the $16.1 million appropriation for township roads in non-oil counties.  This revenue was generated partly ($8 million) by an across-the-board formula change to the gross production tax revenue going to local governments in the oil patch that increased the revenue in the Strategic Investment and Improvements Fund (SIIF). The rest of the funding ($8.1 million) came from the State’s Disaster Relief Fund (DRF).  As the veto doesn’t affect the statutory changes to the GPT  formula, it appears that the $16.1 million will remain unappropriated in those two funds.

Governor Burgum explained his reasoning for this veto, "At a time when North Dakota is dealing with an unprecedented revenue shortfall, nearly every state agency and department has made substantial cuts in budgets based upon limited reserves and/or new initiatives that streamline state government. Without demonstrated evidence of differentiated need or want, this exactly equal, across-the-board appropriation is both arbitrary and inefficient use of our scarce financial resources." 

While of little direct effect to counties, the other vetoes are an interesting reflection of the differing views the Legislature and the Governor’s Office have of the respective authorities and responsibilities of the Legislative and Executive branches – particularly in the areas of Higher Education, the Land Board, and NDPERS.

For more information on the Governor's vetoes click here: Gov. Burgum Release on Vetoes

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